The name of the arrested PUDEMO man is Philemon Lukhele, popularly known as “Mhlabunzima” within political circles.
Nelspruit-The Peoples United Democratic Movement has expressed its concern at the arrest of one of its members in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga following the murder of Hillary Gardee the daughter of the former Secretary General of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Godrich Gardee.
In a statement, the Secretary General of PUDEMO, Wandile Dludlu said “the organisation expresses its support to the investigative work conducted by the law enforcement agencies.” He went to say that “the investigation is not privy to the details of the investigation and like everyone is awaiting further details. We wish to place on record our decisive support to the police for their commendable work to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book. As justice takes its course, we hope more clarity will prevail and help clear a lot of dust and disbelief we may hold currently.”
The name of the arrested PUDEMO man is Philemon Lukhele, popularly known as “Mhlabunzima” within political circles. He is an ANC Senior Researcher in the Chief Whips Office and a fully fledged ANC member in Mpumalanga for over 15 years.
According to reports expressed in a podcast on The Star newspaper in South Africa Lukhele is exiled in South Africa due to persecution in Eswatini. He was arrested along with the son of a prominent Executive Mayor and Deputy Minister.
He retained his membership of PUDEMO and occasionally participated in the organisation’s activities, mainly border blockades. He was arrested at his guest house which is allegedly linked to the murder in that the murder is alleged to have taken place at the guesthouse before the body was dumped on the Lydenburg road outside Nelspruit. Allegations also finger his motor vehicle as the transport used while the offense was being carried out.
A high-powered delegation of PUDEMO led by the President Mlungisi Mkhanya attended Gardee’s funeral proceedings in Mpumalanga and was well received by the family and South Africa’s EFF.
The two suspects appearance were described by the Commander in Chief of the EEF, Julius Malema at Hillary Gardee’s funeral as that of gentlemen who wear suits. Malema said “they own properties in Nelspruit and have political credentials.
The two arrests bring the total number of arrests to three but more prominent arrests have not been ruled out in the coming days.
Malema and the EFF welcomed and expressed appreciation to the South African Police Services (SAPS) at the arrest following the arrests of the three suspects in connection with the murder of Hillary Gardee.
Gardee’s funeral was a moving ceremony attended by her family, members of the EFF, government officials including the police minister, Bheki Cele and other dignitaries from across the continent. The EFF and the family are of the considered view that the suspects must be denied bail as they are collectively and undeniably a flight risk.
The provincial commissioner of SAPS in Mpumalanga Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela said “I appreciate the energy and commitment put by the established team that is investigating Gardee’s death. This is encouraging and as we have indicated that there are other people of interest that we are following and interviewing during our investigation that is still proceeding we managed to come out with the information that the two arrested suspects are the right people.”
Manamela disclosed that the first suspect was arrested at Schoemansdaal in Nkomazi municipality barely ten kilometres from the Jeppes Reef/Matsamo border post to Eswatini. Manamela encouraged the media and the public to support the team with the investigation as they follow more leads so that everyone who has a hand with the murder may be brought to book.
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